Cooperation with emerging non-European powers: China, India, Brazil and South Africa can become a new important dimension of the Visegrad Group international role. However, to realize this potential Visegrad countries would need to overcome their economic competition and political rivalry first. Effectiveness of the global engagements of the Group will further depend on its internal strength and cohesion as well as ability to speak with one voice on issues important to foreign partners. These are the main findings of the debate organized in the Polish Institute of International Affairs on 22nd March on the occasion of the release of the report: V4 Goes Global.
General observations and specific recommendations were presented by PISM analyst Patryk Kugiel, while representatives of the Embassies of China – Lin Jian and India – A.S. Takhi shared their perspective on the V4 and more have been add by experts and diplomats: Zbigniew Krużyński from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Piotr Bajda from the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw and Krzysztof Kozłowski from the Warsaw School of Economics.
Over the last few years, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—comprising the Visegrad Group (V4)—have been more actively developing the global dimension of their foreign policy and exploring economic opportunities in non-European markets. The financial and economic crisis in the EU, coupled with the strong growth in emerging economies, made diversification of exports a more attractive option than before. After two decades of internal transformation and a focus on Euro-Atlantic integration, the Visegrad countries also became more capable and more interested in looking for new partners beyond Europe and rebuilding old relationships that received less attention after 1989.
In the report “V4 Goes Global”, the Visegrad countries’ cooperation with four major non-European emerging powers—China, India, Brazil and South Africa—is closely examined in three dimensions: political, economic and people-to-people. The report shows that the V4 countries all strive for common goals: strengthening the political dialogue and reviving economic cooperation. Unlike their varied relations with Russia, frequently a point of dispute, there are no major disagreements among the V4 nations on their respective (or joint) policies towards the emerging powers. Furthermore, the V4 countries face similar challenges in their relations with these rising global giants, mostly due to development asymmetry and limited contacts—a legacy of their shared communist-era heritage.
While the Visegrad Group’s primary focus is on relations in the region and within the EU, cooperation with China, India, Brazil and South Africa can emerge as a new important dimension of the V4’s international role. Although economic cooperation is the least promising, as all the Visegrad countries compete for access to new markets, winning contracts, and attracting investments, their interests complement each other in the political, cultural, academic and tourist sectors. Provided there is reciprocal interest, promoting the Visegrad brand through the V4+ format will prove fruitful in attaining national interests. However, success should not be taken for granted; to make the potential a reality, the V4 will need to strengthen current instruments and mechanisms while also creating new ones.
The major findings and recommendations of the report will be presented on 22 March 2016 in Warsaw. The report is a result of the research project “V4 Goes Global: Exploring opportunities in V4 cooperation with emerging powers”, implemented with the financial support of the International Visegrad Fund. In addition to the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), the project was developed with three major partner institutions: the Central European Policy Institute
, in Bratislava; the Institute of International Relations, in Prague
; and, the HAS Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Institute of World Economics
, in Budapest.
Presentation of the report is organized within the framework of the project „V4 Goes Global: Exploring opportunities in V4 cooperation with BASIC emerging powers” supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
Photos by Jadwiga Winiarska